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Friday, February 27, 2009

Gazprom nears $2.5bn Nigeria deal

nigeria02-25-2009 - Upstream OnLine - Russian gas giant Gazprom hopes to conclude a $2.5 billion oil and gas exploration deal with Nigeria by the end of March, which would see it set up a 50/50 joint venture with state player Nigeria National Oil Corporation. "We are one month away from getting a conclusion on the JV (joint venture) deal," Vladimir Ilyanin, managing director of Gazprom Nigeria, told Reuters at an oil and gas conference in the Nigerian capital Abuja today. In September last year, NNPC said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian gas export monopoly on joint venture projects, but gave few details. NNPC said at the time that the deal covered petroleum and gas exploration, as well as power. Nigeria has the world's seventh-largest proven gas reserves, but has been unable to develop its gas industry to anywhere near full potential because of a lack of funds and regulation. Some industry experts in Europe see Russia's deals with African Opec members like Nigeria as an attempt to increase control on Europe's natural gas supplies. Gazprom already provides a quarter of Europe's gas. A senior Gazprom source told Reuters three weeks ago that the Russian company wanted to invest at least $2.5 billion in the development and production of Nigerian gas, a figure confirmed by Ilyanin. The source said 90% of the investment would be in developing Nigeria's domestic gas production, processing and transportation.

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